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Friday, May 31, 2024  
22 Dhul-Qadah 1445  

Weapons found at Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence during police raid

Policemen break down the gate, fire tear gas shells
Police officials load rifles found at Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence into a police truck. Aaj News
Police officials load rifles found at Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence into a police truck. Aaj News
Police officials carry rifles found at Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence to a police truck. Aaj News
Police officials carry rifles found at Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence to a police truck. Aaj News

The Punjab police have found weapons at PTI Chief Imran Khan’s Zaman Park residence in Lahore during a raid that came as a surprise for the PTI.

Punjab IGP Usman Anwar told a press conference shortly after the discovery of the weapons that the police conducted the raid after obtaining a search warrant because police and Rangers were attacked from Zaman Park earlier this week.

Aamir Mir, Punjab’s caretaker information minister, joined Anwar at the press conference.

Federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said in a statement that police did not enter the residential quarters of Khan’s house despite having a warrant. The raid was conducted because Zaman Park had become a no-go area for the citizen, he said.

Police have found at least 16 rifles — apparently government-issue weapons, officials told Aaj News.

The arms were issued to Imran Khan when he was in power but he failed to return them after leaving the government, they said.

Footage and images from Khan’s house indicated police also found marbles which PTI workers had been using in slingshots to attack the police.

Khan was on his way to Islamabad for a court appearance on Saturday when a heavy contingent of police raided his Zaman Park residence, which PTI workers had been jealously guarding for months. They clashed with police and Rangers on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Police entered PTI chief Imran Khan’s residence after breaking the main gate door.

A handful of party supporters outside the house and domestic workers inside tried to resist the raid but they were outnumbered by the police in riot gear. The police fired tear gas shells inside the house.

They arrested Khan’s supporters who arrived in Lahore from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) earlier this week to join their comrade at Zaman Park.

PTI supporters said police also took away the ration stored by the party workers at Zaman Park.

Khan and PTI react to the raid

Condemning the raid Imran Khan said in a tweet that his wife Bushra Bibi was alone at the home.

“Punjab police have led an assault on my house in Zaman Park where Bushra Begum is alone. Under what law are they doing this?” he said in a series of tweets.

Police fire tear gas shell inside PTI chief Imran Khan’s residence Zaman Park, Lahore on March 18, 2023. Screengrab

Khan released a video message saying that under the ‘London Plan’ the government wanted to arrest him. He told the news agency Reuters that he had formed a committee to lead the party in the event he is arrested.

Other PTI leaders said they anticipated the ‘discovery’ of weapons since the government was trying to frame terror charges against Khan.

Fawad Chaudhry used sarcasm to question official claims and to imply that rifles were planted at the house. “Cannon, tank shells, anti-aircraft and cocaine, hashish and petrol bombs were recovered from Imran Khan’s residence. Tanks and cannons were taken by Imran Khan. Anticipated press conference of IG Punjab,” he said.

Maryam claims police attacked by petrol bombs

PMLN’s Maryam Nawaz Sharif, meanwhile, challenged the narrative advanced by Khan, saying if Bushra Bibi was alone at home then who were the people who threw petrol bombs at the police?

She tweeted a series of videos from the Zaman Park raid. One of the videos showed the main gate of the Khan’s house and someone behind it throwing what looked like a petrol bomb.

In another video, a policeman in riot gear tells on camera that a man at Khan’s residence was firing shots at the raiding party.

“Didn’t I say that this is a terrorist group whose leader is keeping miscreants and trained terrorists in his house to evade the law and punishment? These scenes were seen only in relation to terrorism before today. Shameful!” she said.

Maryam Nawaz demanded on Friday that PTI should be declared a banned terrorist outfit.

How the raid began

Soon after Khan left for Islamabad with his supporters in a rally, a heavy contingent of police was deployed outside the PTI chief residence.

The party has claimed that many of its supporters were arrested in the police crackdown.

At least four anti-riots SSPs were leading the operation, sources said.

Police broke the main gate and entered the residence, eyewitnesses said, adding that the police blocked the roads leading to Zaman Park by placing containers and barriers.

A prisoner van, water cannons, and bulldozers were stationed outside Zaman Park. Moreover, the police along with the anti-encroachment team removed tents and other installations outside Khan’s house. They also used crane.

Sources claimed that internet connectivity was suspended in the area.

On Friday, the Punjab government and the PTI reached an agreement to resolve the Zaman Park crisis and to reschedule the Mina-e-Pakistan rally of the PTI.

Aaj News reported that under the agreement the PTI promised it will cooperate with the police to execute arrest and search warrants.

Police arrived to collect evidence: Amir Mir

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said this week the government had nothing to do with the police action and the police were complying with court orders.

Punjab Information Minister Amir Mir told Reuters that police had arrived outside Imran’s house to collect evidence about attacks on police and people wanted in various cases.

“When police arrived, the PTI activists tried to stop them by pelting stones and baton attacks. In retaliation, police arrested many of them. Police had already informed the PTI leadership about the evidence collection process,” Mir said.

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